India

Xiaomi has become an undisputed leader by market share

Can Samsung turn the tides this year?

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For more than a year, Xiaomi has been leading the Indian smartphone market in terms of market share and there’s no stopping them. The brand has single-handedly managed to oust local brands like Micromax, and even experienced players like Samsung have taken a hit.

According to IDC, in Q4 2018, Xiaomi managed to grab an astounding 28.9 percent of the market, followed by Samsung at 18.7 percent. While Vivo and OPPO have managed to grab a decent 9.7 percent and 7.1 percent respectively, their rate of growth has slowed down considerably.

If we consider the complete year of 2018 against 2017, Vivo has managed to grow just 0.6 percent year-over-year and OPPO actually dipped by 0.3 percent. The report also says that online-focused brands drove the online channel share to an all-time high of 38.4 percent. On the other hand, offline sales registered a meager 6.7 percent growth.

During the last quarter of 2018, Realme managed to grab quite a huge chunk of the market with a share of 7.5 percent. The sub-brand of OPPO was launched just half a year back and has already released a wide array of phones.

The average selling price of phones continued to be in the budget segment at roughly US$ 158 (INR 11,000). More than half of the shipments belong in the US$ 100 to US$ 200 segment, and that’s where brands intend to lead.

In the end, Xiaomi shipped more than 40 million units in 2018, followed by Samsung with almost 32 million. Samsung had been relatively silent last year, but has now changed strategy with the M-series launch. The South Korean giant is focused on taking back the budget and midrange segments by reportedly launching a plethora of phones in the coming months.

Lastly, OnePlus has once again emerged as the leader in the premium segment, followed by Samsung and Apple in the super-premium segment.

India

WhatsApp could go under a government audit

1,400+ users were affected worldwide

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A few weeks ago it came to light that spyware named Pegasus had hacked more than 1,400 users worldwide via a WhatsApp vulnerability. A huge chunk of the users were from India and included prominent journalists as well as activists.

Following the revelation, the Indian government wants to conduct a security audit of WhatsApp. The government has also sent a notice to Israeli technology firm NSO Group, which had created the Pegasus spyware.

In response, WhatsApp last month sued Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, accusing it of helping clients break into the phones. NSO has previously denied snooping allegations and said it sells technology to governments for counter-terrorism.

The Indian Computer Emergency Team (CERT-In) “sought submission of information from WhatsApp on November 9, 2019, including a need to conduct an audit and inspection of WhatsApp’s security systems and processes,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics and IT, told parliament in a statement.

WhatsApp has responded to CERT-In’s queries and patched the vulnerability. However, the government requires further clarification.

According to a report, officials close to the matter said that the government believes that if WhatsApp’s data is stored in the country, it would have helped the authorities to carry out their own investigation related to Pegasus snooping case.

The minister said the government plans to introduce the Data Protection Bill soon, and warned companies of action if they fail to provide cybersecurity to their users.

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India

Realme X2 Pro with Snapdragon 855+, 50W charging launches

The new flagship killer?

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Realme has been on a tear in 2019 and the company has no plans of stopping  after finally launching the Realme X2 Pro. It’s filled to the brim with latest features and will be going up against Xiaomi’s K20 Pro as well as the OnePlus 7T.

After its official unveiling in China and Europe last month, the Realme X2 Pro has now made its way to India. The phone has a premium design consisting of glass and metal.

On the front is a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED panel with 90Hz refresh rate and a small water-drop notch on the top. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 855+ processor along with 8GB RAM in the base variant. For authentication, an in-display fingerprint scanner has been provided along with support for face unlock.

The camera is a major highlight and the flagship phone houses a set of four sensors on the rear: a massive 64-megapixel primary lens, a 13-megapixel telephoto lens, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 2-megapixel portrait lens. The front water-drop notch houses a 16-megapixel camera for selfies.

The battery capacity is 4,000 mAh and it comes with support for blazing-fast 50W SuperVOOC Flash Charge. Realme claims it can completely charge the phone within 35 minutes.

On the software front, Realme is sticking with Android 9 Pie and ColorOS 6.1 but an update to Android 10 is already in the works.

Realme X2 Pro is priced at INR 29,999 (US$ 417) for the 8GB+128GB option and INR 33,999 (US$ 475) for the 12GB+256GB variant.

The company also launched Realme X2 Pro Master Edition in Red Brick and Concrete color variants with 12GB+256GB configuration costing INR 34,999 (US$ 486). The sale for the Master Edition will start during Christmas.

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India

Vivo Y19 is an affordable phone with triple rear cameras

A phone that gets everything right

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Photo by GadgetMatch

The affordable segment has seen a wide range of new phones this year thanks to a raging war between Xiaomi and Realme. While the two are constantly trying to undercut each other, brands are striving to take advantage of the situation.

Vivo has unveiled a new phone dubbed the Y19 and it’s being launched in India as well as the Philippines. The design is rather different and incorporates a 3D design that can mimic a wide range of reflective colors. The phone will be available in Magnetic Black and Spring White color options.

On the front is a 6.5-inch LCD Full HD+ display with a tiny water-drop notch on the top. Powering the phone is an octa-core MediaTek Helio P65 SoC, paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage.

In terms of optics, the triple rear camera setup of the Vivo Y19 includes a 16-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The phone also gets a 16-megapixel selfie camera at the front.

It has dual SIM support and ships with Android 9 Pie-based Funtouch OS 9.2. For a better gaming experience, an Ultra Game Mode has been provided for optimization.

In India, the phone has been priced at INR 13,999 (US$ 195) and will be available for purchase via all major online as well as offline sellers.

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